Editorial Comment: Three years of inaction

In 2003, the National Institute for Mental Health in England confirmed what many already knew: people diagnosed with a personality disorder were frequently unable to access the care they needed from secondary mental health services.

Three years later, it seems little has changed. An analysis of local personality disorder capacity plans reveals that “no  area has anything approaching an adequate level of provision”.

A combination of psychological treatments reinforced by drug therapy at critical times is the consensus view of treatment in personality disorder.

Yet the capacity plans reveal many psychological therapy services continue to either exclude people with personality  disorders or are organised in ways that make them effectively inaccessible. This is not acceptable.

There will always be those clinicians and practitioners who are sceptical about the effectiveness of treatment interventions for personality disorders. But this is a condition believed to affect more than one in 10 adults in the community. While more resources are undeniably important, a massive cultural shift and significant training programme are undoubtedly key to ensuring the prospects for personality disorder services are brighter in another three years’ time.

Additional reading
Reviews identify lack of support for people with personality disorders
I can cope with despair 

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